Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. ~Twyla Tharp

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wait. It's mid-term already?

Here in the middle of North Carolina, we are already in the middle of the first quarter of the school year.  How did that happen already?  The Bulldogs are getting ready for homecoming in a week and the weather has prematurely turned very fall-ish.  I keep telling myself that summertime is going to have one last hurrah! before the cool autumn days set in, but I'm not sure if I believe it or not.  The weather has been awfully odd this year, starting last winter with an unusual amount of actual snow and a relatively mild summer.  Sure, we had a few hot days but nothing like some of the 100° + days that we have seen in the not to distant past.  I wonder is this is a predictor of the winter weather this year?  Silly me, I forgot to count the number of fogs that we had in August, I haven't seen one woolly worm caterpillar to measure their brown bands and I haven't seen any pigs gathering sticks.  I guess I could try to find some locally grown persimmons to see what shape their kernels are but that seems like an awful lot of trouble.  The sunflowers this year were kind of tall so, who knows?  I guess we will all be at the mercy of our local meteorologists and waiting for that text message, phone tree call, blue line on the bottom of the screen on the 5:00 a.m. news and the greatest announcer of the snow day-Facebook posts from all my fellow teachers.  Let's face it, teachers get just as excited about a snow day as the kids.  We are also very fond of the 2 hour delay and the early release just to be clear.

I didn't intend for this blog post to turn into a conversation about the weather, but who knows where my fingers on the keyboard will take me?

So, back to the Art Room...we already have a couple of projects under our belt. One was not very successful as far as the outcome, but I am blaming that on the fact that I can't afford halfway decent watercolor paper and am forced to use construction paper.  Our second project turned out nicely.  We talked about infographics and the kids did a time wheel that depicted a typical day in the life of a middle schooler. I was happy with the result of those and I learned an awful lot.  Some of my kids have awfully jam packed busy days.  No wonder they are sleepy.  I'm going to hang some in the hallway this week and I'll take a few pictures to share with you.

This week, we are doing a project that falls under so many categories in our Essential Standards that I had a hard time narrowing it down.  I saw an image over on Pinterest by an artist when I was just scrolling through one day.   I think it was this one, but I can't be sure.  At any rate, it gave me an idea, which is by no means an original one.  I've seen similar projects all over the interwebs, using paper (similar to Notan designs), markers, colored pencils and paint.

In this case, I have my students working on 6 x 6 squares of paper.  Why 6 x 6 you ask?  Well, I can get more squares for the buck out of my 12 x 18 construction paper.  Who says we don't do math in the art room?  As if...

We divided the paper into 9 - 2' squares.  I then told them to draw an identical geometric (not organic!) shape in the center of each square.  Next, they had to draw the same shape, smaller, inside each shape.  For the last drawing step I had them draw 3 squiggly lines through their design.  The lines were to go from one edge or corner to the other and they weren't to cross.  Then they had to draw the same thing on their second piece of paper.  This was greeted with a lot of middle school worthy sighs and groans, a few exclamations of "This is too much!" and "This is haaaaaaaaaard!".  I reminded them that we could just walk down the hall to their math classrooms and start solving equations and writing down formulas and the room suddenly got quiet.

The hardest part of the project is the planning.  They have to actually sit there (OMG! MizzzzzzSmiffff!) and plan where the colors are going to go.  The first square is in black and white and they get to choose 2 complementary colors to finish the second.  I tried to explain to them that if they don't plan it right, it isn't going to come out right and they are going to have to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN and I am so mean, I know this.  The rules are that the colors cannot touch side by side, so I instructed them to do the black and white one first and to write (LIGHTLY) a 'B' where the black will go.  So far, I've had about 7 or 8 kids to have to do it all over again out of 5 classes.  Not to bad, I guess.  This project covers positive and negative space, pattern, repetition, complementary colors, contrast and planning and Op Art.  Not too shabby.

I think they are going to look really neat when they are done.  I am thinking that our next project is going to be one using Emphasis.  I am not sure exactly what I am going to have them do but I have a few ideas swimming around in my head.  After that, it will be mid-October and I think I am going to try some atmospheric perspective with some spooky trees.

Treasure working diligently
Meghan doing a fast duck and Emma trying not to smile.
I love these guys.  They all do such a great job in class and seem to like art, which makes my job easier.

He gets it.  That would be his mid-term progress report right there by his left arm.  Again, time is flying.

Christopher, working hard.  

Misty, planning where her colors are going to go.

My examples.  Mine are 8 x 8 because I had some scraps that size left over from something.  I'll mount the student work side by side on one piece of paper when they are done.

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